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Comparing the best available techniques to reduce air pollution from industry

When it comes to choosing techniques to reduce emissions from industrial processes, for example, in a plant producing cement, operators might find themselves in a difficult spot. To comply with national regulations on permissible emissions from this plant, the operator, who might have been in business for a while, will choose best available techniques, taking into account environmental, economical and technical conditions.

workshop to promote the understanding and implementation of best available techniques (BAT) across the UNECE region with particular focus on countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia was organized by the Task Force on Techno-Economic Issues (TFTEI) under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, in Berlin this week (14-16 May 2019).

The concept of “Best available techniques” refers to the most effective and advanced practices and methods used under economically and technically viable conditions in relevant industrial sectors to reduce emissions and the impact on the environment. Experts from various countries of the UNECE region and beyond shared information on existing approaches to BAT implementation and examples of application in different sectors. Industry representatives gave practical examples of BAT implementation (e.g. process-integrated and end-of-pipe techniques) in existing plants. Participants also discussed obstacles for implementation of BATs.

Best available techniques have emerged as a key policy tool to prevent and control the emission of industrial pollutants, and thereby to ensure the protection of human health and the environment. Applying BATs to different sources is a key requirement in the latest three protocols to the Convention, e.g. the Protocol on Heavy Metals, the Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone (Gothenburg Protocol).